Socialist Worker

Anti-racists see off Nazis in Aarhus, Denmark

by Martin Smith, assistant secretary, Unite Against Fascism
Issue No. 2297

Many of Europe’s key Nazis and Islamophobes gathered in Aarhus, Denmark, on Saturday of last week.

They organised a conference to coordinate European-wide cooperation between their racist organisations.

The idea was also to launch a European Defence League.

The keynote speaker was Tommy Robinson, leader of the English Defence League.

Around 150 attended the racist conference.

But an 8,000-strong anti-racist counter-demonstration put paid to their plans.

Anti-racists in Aarhus launched a coalition in the run-up to the conference.

It included trade unions, student groups, left parties and community groups.

They agreed to organise a march and rally.

The local council opposed the plans for any anti-racist demonstration on the day.

Instead it organised a musical festival the weekend before which attracted about 1,000 people.

Militant

On the day the racists came to town, the council urged people to stay at home and put lighted candles in their windows.

Fortunately thousands of people ignored this advice and marched in opposition to the Nazis.

It was a vibrant and militant demonstration that snaked its way through the city.

Sound systems blared out music and chants of “Whose streets? Our streets!” rang out across Aarhus.

A rally and festival took place in the main square in the middle of the town.

The meeting was addressed by politicians and trade unionists.

I was invited to speak from Unite Against Fascism.

Towards the end of the rally thousands of local youth and protesters attacked the racists’ conference hall.

They severely disrupted the meeting, leaving a number of racists running for their lives.

Media headlines the next day all echoed the same message—“Racist convention ends in disarray.”

As one young woman said on the local radio that evening, “The Defence Leagues came and saw, but didn’t conquer—they were defeated by the people of Aarhus.”


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Article information

International
Tue 3 Apr 2012, 18:39 BST
Issue No. 2297
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